This week our black-clad trio head to Old Town San Diego for a multi-part lockdown, investigating the Cosmopolitan Hotel and La Casa de Estudillo. Unlike previous locations – which typically feature murders, Indian burial grounds, or demonic energies – the spirits in Old Town just really, really like to party.
The interviews start at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, with innkeeper Miguel Pulido. We learn the building used to be known as the Casa de Bandini. The wealthy gentleman Mr. Bandini was known for his raucous, 3-day parties, making the location “the place to be in 1829.” They move inside to the saloon/bar area where the bottles are claimed to move on their own. Nick casually asks for a shot of tequila, and before you can say “spirits,” Zak and Nick are going head to head in a shot challenge. Zak gets as giggly as a teenage girl on prom night, though Nick implies he’s not drinking anything stronger than root beer.
As they continue their tour, Miguel tells them of the claims in the building: objects moving on their own, an apparition in Bandini’s study, and all the lights turning on and off for no reason. Another quick shot to toast Bandini, and they move upstairs, where mirrors are claimed to move on their own in Room 11 and Room 4 features a headboard carved with a dead girl’s likeness. While out interviewing another witness, Zak gets all giggly again when some female fans ask for a photo op.
They continue on to their second location of Casa de Estudillo. They tour the building with 9th generation San Diegoan Elena Orozco as their guide. Some of the claims in the building include apparitions of a woman and a monk. We are treated to a “Zak is confused by words” moment here, when he becomes utterly perplexed by the term “cattle baron.”
Zak – Kettle?
Elena – Cattle. Moo.
Zak – Kittle?
Elena – Cattle!
Zak – Cattle. Cows?
Elena – Yes! Moo!
Zak – I thought kettles.
Elena continues to educate Zak on the topic of arranged marriages before giving him a tour of the garden, where they comment on some phallic-looking vegetables. One gets the feeling the guys are hamming it up now to make up for an otherwise boring investigation later – unfortunately that proves true.
The lockdown starts in the Casa de Estudillo. Zak tries to up the ante by alluding to some land disputes and “mysterious deaths” that weren’t brought up in the interview. They begin their investigation with a thermal camera sweep and attempt to capture some EVP or electronic voice phenomena (spirit voices) with questions posed in bad Spanish. Nothing much happens, other than capturing some footsteps and a strange orb (though it looks like a bug to me) on video. While gathering equipment to cover more area, Nick claims a door closed mysteriously behind him, but we don’t see it.
The team splits up. Nick and Aaron go to separate wings. Zak sets up in the front hall, with a Therma Sound device – essentially sonar that maps disturbances in the room – and the Ovilus II, a device with a phonetic database that spirits allegedly manipulate to form words. The Ovilus picks up the words “digging,” “grass,” and “Mandy.” When Zak asks where this spirit is, it sets off the only intelligent response we get this episode. He gets the word “central,” the Therma Sound graphs movement, and his audio recorder picks up an EVP stating, “I see a man.” Is this the spirit of Mandy? Zak thinks so. He subsequently gets the words “rose” and “vase.” Apparently Zak needs to bring this lady ghost some flowers before he’s going to be invited to any otherworldly partying.
The team moves on to the Cosmopolitan Hotel for the second part of their lockdown. Zak’s brilliant idea to draw out Bandini’s ghost? Bring in some dancers and a musician to throw him a party. The dancers clamor around in the dark, with Zak occasionally screaming “alto!” so they can attempt to hear any evidence. But the dancers are just too loud – Zak claims to hear a female voice but it’s impossible to pick out over the noise. There is a flash of light on their full spectrum camera. That’s about it.
They split up once more, each taking one of the haunted rooms. Nick gets some EMF activity, Aaron hears a groan (after asking, “Does this room kinda similarly look like the room you used to be in?” – I would groan too at that abuse of the English language), and everyone generally comments on how creeped out they are. Zak tries to make a case for an EVP, which apparently sounds like “Bandi-“ as if a spirit is attempting to say Bandini. I don’t buy it.
Overall, this is a ho-hum episode, the weakest of the season so far. There are a few laughs in the beginning, but I don’t think partying spirits is enough of a back-story to produce real results.
Zak – Did that make you a true believer that this hotel is legitimately haunted?
Witness – Yeah, but I’ve always thought that something being haunted would be scary…
Zak – Some people think that objects moving by themselves is kind of scary, Chanel.
Zak – What kind of parties were these? I have to define what parties were…
Elena – They had music and the dancing of the time.
Zak – So they were all proper parties? They weren’t like, y’know, dirty parties? Like orgies and stuff? (They laugh.) Hey, you’ve got to ask!
Elena – No, they weren’t like Zak parties!
Eleana – Here’s a zucchini. Look at that, Zak. How nice.
Zak – The plant has a penis.
Elena – Several.
Zak – That is a big zucchini.
Elena – That would be nice on a date, huh?
Zak – It’s our job now to turn those lights off, and see if we can write some more unwritten pages in the “dark section” of the history books of Old Town San Diego.